ST. PAUL, MN – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (58-36) beat the St. Paul Saints 13-5 at CHS Field on Tuesday night.
Goldeyes’ starting pitcher Mikey O’Brien (10-4) earned the win, and became just the fifth pitcher in Goldeyes’ history to post two seasons of 10 or more victories.
After Shawn Pleffner singled up the middle with one out in the top of the second, David Bergin came back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Wes Darvill then walked to load the bases, and the Goldeyes took a 1-0 lead on a Mason Katz sacrifice fly to centre.
Casey Turgeon lined a single to right field leading off the third and advanced to third base when David Rohm doubled down the left field line. Josh Romanski made it 3-0 with a single to right that deflected off first baseman Dan Johnson. Reggie Abercrombie beat out an infield single on a groundball to second, and two batters later, Bergin drew another walk to load the bases. Darvill then ripped a double to right-centre that scored Romanski and Abercrombie. After Ivan Vieitez relieved Saints’ starter Ryan Zimmerman, Katz lifted his second sacrifice fly of the night to drive in Bergin with the Goldeyes’ sixth run. Andrew Sohn followed with a two-out, line drive single to right that scored Darvill.
“It was a good way to come out,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth. “The boys came out and responded with a really good game plan. We had some really good at bats early in the game. Mikey did a great job for us. He never allowed things to snowball, even when he was in trouble. Just a really good job, and a good way to start the series.”
The Saints scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth when Dan Johnson hit a leadoff double and later scored on an error.
The Goldeyes answered back with five runs in the top of the fifth. Bergin, Darvill, and Katz opened the inning with three straight singles to load the bases. Two batters later, Turgeon pulled a single to right-centre that scored Bergin. Rohm was next, and hit an opposite-field grand slam home run to right that opened up a 12-1 lead. It was the Goldeyes’ fourth grand slam of the season, and the second for Rohm.
Singles from Tim Colwell and JJ Gould started the bottom of the fifth for St. Paul. Brady Shoemaker doubled to right-centre to drive in both runners and cut the Goldeyes’ lead to 12-3, but O’Brien retired the next three hitters in a row, including strikeouts of Johnson and Tony Thomas.
Kes Carter led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer to right, but O’Brien again bounced back with three consecutive outs.
O’Brien allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits over six and one-third innings. O’Brien walked two, struck out five, and joins Rick Forney (1997-98), Rafael Gross (2001, 2003), Andrew Walker (2009, 2011), and Chris Salamida (2010-11) as the only pitchers in Goldeyes’ history with two seasons of 10-plus wins. O’Brien was 10-4 for the Goldeyes in 2016.
With one out in the top of the eighth, Romanski hit a solo home run down the right field line that stretched the lead to 13-4. Romanski has hit safely in 10 consecutive games, marking his fourth hitting streak this season of 10 or more contests.
Thomas hit a solo home run to left leading off the bottom of the eighth before Mitchell Lambson struck out the next three batters in a row.
Kenny Mathews worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth to close out the game, and ended the night when Ben Buerkle grounded into a double play started by Darvill at third base.
10 different Goldeyes had at least one hit, including a pinch-hit single from Jordan Ebert in the top of the ninth. Romanski made two key defensive plays, robbing Tanner Lubach on a line drive to left in the bottom of the second with the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Romanski later robbed Nate Hanson of extra bases with a running catch in left-centre in the bottom of the fourth.
Zimmerman (7-7) took the loss for the Saints, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits in two and one-third innings. Zimmerman walked three and struck out one.
Game two of the three-game series is Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Charle Rosario (9-5, 3.23) faces right-hander Andrew Gutierrez (0-0, –). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
The Goldeyes return home for their final regular season home series on Friday, September 1st when they host the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com